Athletics team strikes gold


THE Philippines’ rode the athletics team’s three-gold medal onslaught to stay in the hunt in the 12th ASEAN Para Games at the Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

King James Reyes saved his best for last and finally struck gold in the men’s 800 meters T46 with a time of two minutes and 13.22 seconds—an improvement on the silvers he claimed in the 5000 Sunday and 1500 Monday.

Rosalie Terrefiel and Andrei Kuizon also snared a gold medal each with Terrefiel reigning supreme in women’s javelin F11 and Kuizon ruling men’s shot put F54/54.

The wards of coach Joel Deriada hiked their gold medal haul to six to match last year’s harvest in Surakarta in Indonesia with still one day remaining in the four-day centerpiece sport.

“Our goal is to improve on our six golds the last time and we’re close to achieving that,” said Deriada, who thanked the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled, Philippine Paralympic Committee and their manager, Judith Staples, for their support.

The Filipinos ran at fifth place in the medals race with a 15-18-18 gold-silver-bronze haul.

Indonesia stayed at the helm with a 71-61-41 harvest followed by Thailand’s 46-49-36, Vietnam’s 31-29-45 and Malaysia’s 30-23-14.

“We’re still on target in surpassing the 28 gold medals who won last year in Surakarta,” said PSC commissioner and chef de mission Walter Torres.

The Filipinos’ golden streak in swimming, however, came to a halt as they managed only a silver in the 100 butterfly S14 courtesy of Ariel Joseph Alegarbes who clocked 1:00.73. Muhd Imaan Aiman of Malaysia won the gold in 1:00.35.

The swimmers scooped five gold medals in the first two days including two new games record by Gary Bejino.

Reyes, a 21-year-old native of Loreto, Agusan del Sur, said he drew inspiration from his faith and family.

“My family’s my inspiration,” said Reyes, who lost his right arm after falling from a tree when he was five years old.

For Torrefiel, she was a cut above the rest in her class where she heaved to 19.33 meters to finish ahead of Thai Ratnaningsih Ratnaningsih (18.05) and Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Chin (17.98).

The same with Kuizon, a protégé of former national team mainstay Nixon Mas, who blew away the competition with a 7.27-meter effort, more than three meters farther that silver medalist Phe Phawat of Cambodia.

The Philippines also claimed two team bronze medals in table tennis—Smith Billy Cartera and Racleo Martinez (men’s class 4) and Leo Macalanda, Jobert Lumanta and Jayson Ocampo  (men’s class 8).

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